Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bears, Bees & Butterflies -- Music at the Library

We went to a music program for kids at the local library. Paul Helou really got the kids up and moving and participating, and his songs were about nature and respect for the earth. (His award winning CD is available from the linked website.)

We enjoyed his performance (although Mikro has sensory issues with loudness, which put a damper on things for him. He would have had a much better time without the amplifier and microphone, but he managed OK, and seemed to enjoy the other kids' enthusiasm.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Seining the Hudson-- Homeschoolers Nature Class

These photos are from a few weeks ago. I'm trying to move some of the more homseschooling related posts here from my personal journal... Mikro takes a weekly science & nature class for homeschoolers at the local nature center. One day, the kids got to explore our local aquatic life by seining the Hudson River and doing a fish count.

The kids got to try their hands at using a dichotomous key to determine species, observing (and touching) blue crabs, moon jellies, striped bass, silver sides, and white perch.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blue Mountain and Birds

Mikro and I recently visited my friend Leela, who Mikro calls "mommy's sister Lilo", as in "Lilo and Stitch". He keeps asking where her "dog" Stitch is! I guess that makes me Nani? I dunno. Leela makes a great adopted auntie (she's my dear artist friend who taught this old oil painter how to use watercolors...) and she really loves Mikro. She even lets him use her good paints!

We took a nice long walk at Blue Mountain Reservation, enjoyed the playground, and the ponds (though I didn't manage to catch Mikro a frog, as requested), and the antics of the Canada Geese.

Afterwards, we hung out at Leela's and Mikro got to touch Tangerine, her pet diamond dove. He was thrilled!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Field Trip-- Central Park Zoo

Mikro loves animals, and we read tons of books about them. Penguins are a particular favorite, and he had been asking for a while to go back to the Central Park Zoo to see them. My mom wanted to join in the fun, and came along.

They had a blast together, feeding the goats, playing with the squadron of monster trucks my mom brought along to give her spoiled grandson, and checking out their favorite critters-- especially the penguins, the monkeys, and the bats.

The penguins were molting. That was a cool thing to see, and Mikro got to be a little professor and explain all about it. He pretty much has the entire book "Penguin Chick" memorized. Gramma was impressed.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Let's Go Fly A Kite

My penguin obsessed boy got to help us fly a penguin kite at beautiful Sennasqua Park, on the Hudson River.

We managed to get it soaring, but it was actually a bit too windy (and surprisingly cold). Still, this was the first time Kev or I have flown a kite in over thirty years, and the first time ever for Mikro. It was fun!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Field Trips-- Coney Island and the New York Aquarium

I had heard that a developer had bought a huge chunk of the Coney Island amusement area, and that this might be the last year for some of the attractions, including Astroland. They can't touch the Cyclone, Wonder Wheel and Parachute Jump, because those have landmark status.

But all the other little rides, arcades, food joints, etc. were at risk. We found out after the fact that we arrived on the last day of the season (September 9th), which might have been the last day ever... Rumor has it a deal has been reached for leases for next season. I hope that proves to be true.

Coney Island was a big part of my childhood. My grandmother took me there nearly every day in the summer when I was little. She died when I was 9, and after that, visits were few and far between. But I am very fond of the place, especially since it brings back fond Gramma memories... Anyway, we took the Q train to West 8th Street, and wandered into nostalgia territory. This was Mikro's first trip to Coney Island, and I was happy that he got to see it before it changes forever.

First we wandered the boardwalk, and played a bit at an arcade...

Next, Mikro took his first ever ferris wheel ride, on the Wonder Wheel... Let's just say he wasn't exactly thrilled at the beginning, but he did calm down and take in the interesting new perspective, looking down on the rides and the beach from on high.

Then it was back to wandering the boardwalk, a quick picnic lunch, and we were off to the New York Aquarium.We have been reading "Over in the Ocean", a counting book featuring sea creatures, as well as Eric Carle's "A House for Hermit Crab", and he was very excited to see them "in real life" as well as in a book.

Bonus! There were penguins!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Field Trips-- Philipsburg Manor

We went to the Green Corn Festival at Philipsburg Manor and explored the grounds, watched corn husk dolls being made, listened to a Native American storyteller, and collected feathers, leaves and other bits of nature for our growing collection...

Then we walked towards Tarrytown Lighthouse, and passed by this eagle statue, which originally graced Grand Central Terminal.

Unfortunately, due to construction, we couldn't get close... but we did see Kidd's Rock, a spot where legendary pirate Captain Kidd supposedly landed...

When we got home, we made lots of leaf rubbings.